I am a barrister. I practise in family law. I split my time between arguing in (and out) of court, giving legal advice on paper or face-to-face and, at the moment, book writing. It is great fun. And massively rewarding.
I have been a (proper) barrister for 2.5 years. I was lucky to do a few fun things before coming to the Bar. I worked for the United Nations in a Central American nation haunted by gang crime, I taught English at 3,000m above sea level in the Andes mountains and I tapas-ed my way around university in Spain. But, really, I have known for a while that I wanted to be a barrister.
Every day is a story. People’s lives are endlessly fascinating.
Worst part? Those long, headache-inducing days in which you are battered about from an angry client in a hot waiting room, to angry opponents in stuffy corridors, to an angry judge in a claustrophobic court room.
Predictably: a desire to see justice done and to help vulnerable people.
Even more predictably: I now have a mortgage to pay.
Peppermint tea. I am (mostly) caffeine-free.
The most striking characteristic of life at the Bar is self-employment and all the good and bad that brings. I love it. But it is not for everyone.
Being a true millennial, my soundtrack to 2017 was Despacito. My 2018 one is yet to be defined.
I hold deep respect for all of those who, on a daily basis, put their client’s interests above their own, devoting hours and hours of unpaid work to their client’s cause, not always to be rewarded with a 'thank you'. In Coram Chambers, I have many such colleagues.
Sun, sea, running, food, friends and my girlfriend. (Not in order of priority, of course).
I read Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal earlier this year. It is a deeply thought-provoking critique of the way society treats death. Otherwise, for pure escapism, I am a massive Hardy fan. I also start holidays by reading a sneaky Grisham on the plane.
If I had the eloquence, I would be a novelist, writing with a view of the sea.
Buf. Where to start? The massive pressure on everyone involved? The crumbling court infrastructure? Entering a court room, flanked by a client for whom the next hour will define much in their life, to be greeted by a judge who is so busy that they cannot possibly have had enough time to understand the gritty details of the case they will adjudicate? These are significant issues that we – family law practitioners, the family justice system, the State – need to consider with great care. Without proper funding and access to justice, we undermine the rule of law.
I was proud to be honoured by the trustees of the National Pro Bono Centre and am pleased to be able to highlight the importance of pro bono work [see Alex's recent article in Family Law May 'Why pro-bono?'  Fam Law 361].